Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
A program like the one presented Monday night at the Folger Library sets you to thinking, and the first thoughts it brought to my mind were wildly optimistic.
The featured instrument was the guitar, chronically a sort of stepchild in classical music, and all eight items on the program were composed in the 20th century; half of them by composers living in Washington.
And the music was, without exception, a delight.
Our town is uncommonly endowed with good classical guitarists (we can thank the benign influence of Sophocles Papas for much of that), but its difference from other towns of similar size is not overwhelming.
Possibly all that has been lacking for a breakthrough in the status of the guitar as a classical instrument has been the shortage of repertoire - fresh music enjoyable to the listener and challenging to the player.
The music played by guitarist Larry Snitzler last night - his own and that of three other Washingtonians: Glenn Smith, N.H. Derwyn Holder and Ralph Turek - indicated that this repertoire is now being produced in Washington and, one must assume, elsewhere as well.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCES] those who don't; that's a slight exaggera- [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
It has taken a bit over a half-century since Segovia began to show the world the instrument's potential, but the golden age of the guitar may be finally upon us.
I don't mean that any of the four pieces by Washington composers was an earthshaking masterpiece - none was quite as imposing as the Ginastera sonata that had its premiere here earlier this season - but all were well-made, original and thoroughly enjoyable, good entries for the kind of basic repertoire the instrument needs.
"Abstract," by Ralph Turek was the most demanding technically and the one closest to an avant-garde flavour. Glenn Smith's "Three Pieces" were strong in impressionistic atmosphere, rhythmically vigorous and melodically fluent. Holder's Sonatina in One Movement and Snitzler's own "Reminiscences upon a study of Fernando Sor" were beautifully formed, immediately attractive music.
Also on the program were a transcription of Satie's first "Gymnopedie," Falla's splendid "Hommage a Debussy," the brilliant, colorful "Estancias" of Antonio Ruiz-Pipo and four of the Villa-Lobos Etudes which are a cornerstone of modern guitar music. Snitzler's technique is equal to the musical sense which went into building this absorbing program; most of the time, he made no special effort to show virtuosity (as distinct from musicianship), but where it was demanded, as in the 11the Villa-Lobos Etude, it was produced brilliantly.